Thursday, February 17, 2005

Our First Love

I was cleaning out a closet recently when I stumbled upon a box of old letters. Among past birthday cards, faded valentines, and many dogged-eared Christmas greetings was a stack of envelopes rubber-banded together. These were the letters that my husband and I had exchanged in the summer of 1981.

At that time, I was a single college senior working with teens in a Christian summer resident camp, while Don was interning at the Ligonier Valley Study Center (a Christian studies institute headed by R.C. Sproul). We wrote regularly, sometimes daily, for the entire summer, and as a result of that correspondence, moved from being best friends to becoming engaged on Sept. 1st, to being married four months later in January 1982.

What was it about those letters that moved us from friendship to intimacy? How did we grow from being ministry partners to becoming life partners, without the benefit of dating ? (no, we never dated). God used our written words to move us from “knowing about” each other to truly “knowing” each other. He used our written dialogue to deepen our love in ways that activity together could never have accomplished. Writing, reading, talking and listening (on paper), worked together to make us one of heart, mind, and purpose, all through written words.

The same might be said of our relationships with God. Doesn’t God use His written Word to make us of one heart, mind, and purpose with Him? Isn’t it through His Word, that God reveals Himself to us? Isn’t it there that we prayerfully move from knowing about Him, to truly knowing and loving Him? Isn’t it there that we develop our passion for Him?

As I read through our old letters, I remember how I longed for the camp mail to arrive, and how I eagerly leafed through piles of correspondence looking for the handwriting I’d grown to love. I savored each letter, reading it again and again to catch a glimpse of the man I was beginning to love in ways I hadn’t before. I read his letters to learn from him and about him, and to discover what I could from content that was there. I read with a heart that was eager to listen and learn, and that deeply longed to know, love, and be loved by the author.

Oh, that I had one tenth of the same passion for God’s Word that I had for those letters!

The last three months have been incredibly busy for me. Despite my activity “for God,” my intimacy with Him suffered. Oh, to be sure, I regularly studied the Bible for my lesson preparation, and I prayed regularly for needs. But I rarely drank of His Word simply to delight in the Author. I rarely prayed purely to grow in love for, and intimacy with, the lover of my soul.

During this teaching season, may we recapture the delight of our First Love. May we hungrily search the pages of His letter to us (God’s Word) for glimpses of His grace and glory, and may we know a joy and intimacy with Him like we’ve never known before.

That's all for now,

(This entry is adapted from an entry in the November, 2000, hard copy of Teachers' Tips, Tools, and Topics, c. 2000 by Joan Esherick.)

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